India and the UAE have agreed to allow their airlines to carry eligible passengers on both legs of their charter flights between the two countries to be operated from July 12 to July 26, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said on Thursday.
Currently, an Indian carrier operating a repatriation flight from the United Arab Emirates is not allowed to carry any passenger from here to the Gulf country. Similarly, a UAE carrier cannot carry passengers on the first leg of the charter flight — from the UAE to India.
Many Indian nationals who have valid residence permits of the UAE and are currently in India have been complaining on social media for the last few weeks about the lack of flights between the two countries. India suspended all scheduled international passenger flights on March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Air India Express CEO K Shyam Sundar said on Twitter: “Happy to announce Air India Express has opened its flights between 12th and 26th July from India to UAE for sale to Indians with UAE Resident Permits.”
Sundar’s tweet came after the Civil Aviation Ministry announced on the microblogging site, “As part of the close strategic partnership between the governments of India and the UAE, and with a view to assisting UAE resident nationals who are at present in India to return to the UAE, the civil aviation authorities of both countries have agreed to operationalise the following arrangement from 12 July 2020.”
Charter flights operated by UAE carriers will now be permitted to bring Indian citizens from the UAE to India and carry ‘ICA-approved UAE residents’ on their return leg, the ministry said.
ICA stands for the UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship. A passenger having a valid residency permit of the UAE needs to take ICA approval before taking any flight to enter that country.
The Civil Aviation Ministry said, “Indian carriers operating repatriation flights to bring Indian citizens from UAE to India will be allowed to carry the ICA-approved UAE residents (returning to UAE from India) on the outward journey from India to UAE.”
On India to UAE journey, all these flights will carry only those passengers who are destined for the Gulf country, the Civil Aviation Ministry noted.
This arrangement will be initially in place for a period of 15 days — from July 12 to July 26 — and will be reviewed after that, it added.